In 2018 Field Theatre Group director, Deb Curtis took a break from directing and took to the boards herself. In fact, this was a return to form for Deb who trained and worked as a professional actress.
The resulting play, Holding Hands, is a highly personal piece of theatre, based on her own experiences of dealing with her father's dementia.
When a loved one is afflicted by a mental illness, those who care for them are often left struggling to cope. Information and advice can be hard to come by, and families can be left feeling as though they are embarking on a bewildering journey … a journey without a map.
And anyone who has had any experience of dementia will know, it is a roller-coaster condition. There are times of sadness and high drama … interspersed with moments of sheer comedy, and occasionally real terror.
In fact, the subject is a gift for a dramatist!
I came to this piece as an actress and writer, but most importantly as a daughter.
Deborah Curtis 2018
Rehearsals began in early January when Thomas Marty joined the production team as director.
Thomas was ably supported by technician, sound and lighting designer Jack Stevens.
Miles Curtis was our stage manager.
Jennifer Stevens, Chair of The Field Theatre Group produced Holding Hands.
We would like to thank our funders, The National Lottery Fund
Just to say what wonderful performance last night.
I have enjoyed all your productions but this latest one is just amazing. It is wonderful to have such talent as part of our community.
Really look forward to your next production.
‘Absolutely wonderful, funny and incredibly evocative performance of Holding Hands last night. Congratulations Field Theatre Group'
'The most emotional piece of theatre I've ever seen’ Caroline Cawley, Babyon Arts
Powerful and affecting … an appalling, shocking, heart-rending story - told with wit and imagination and a sense of form and even humour’.
‘The Field Theatre's one woman show devised by Deborah Curtis and directed by Thomas Marty and produced by Jennifer Stevens is a lovingly crafted personal story and an indictment of the times we live in and shows the effects of dementia and the need for greater awareness and understanding’.
Mayor of Ely Mike Rouse
A gripping play on a difficult subject. Addressing issues of people with no morals interposing themselves between a dementia sufferer and his family. Alienating him from his family in order to financially benefit themselves while victimising the family. A distressing tale of how the system is really struggles to resolve the situation with any speed while the abuse continues. A appalling situation made vivid by Deb Curtis's writing and wonderful performance.
I was hooked ... a great piece of drama. Moving, funny and informative. It was terrific’
Deborah Curtis is tremendous. To hold an audience in the palm of your hand for 75 minutes is truly an achievement , and to be able to turn a story of such horror into something positive shows a strong personality
The ‘lovely’ part was the fact that the love she had for her father shone through all the despair and horror. Thank you so much for the show.
Holding Hands was extraordinary, not only the appalling nature of the story, but the complex brilliance of the whole work in conception and execution. All so funny and tender, as well as dramatic.
Holding Hands, the heart-string-tugging play enacted by its author, Deborah Curtis, came to Littleport Village Hall last night, watched by an appreciative audience.
Members of the council and many people active in the community had also come along to see this seminal production by the immensely talented crew of the Field Theatre Group that points up the need to safeguard our loved ones who are suffering from the various forms of dementia - and what can go horrifyingly wrong due to lack of proper regard and education by the police and social services.
There is a sequel to this play that needs to be written! Not just so that we can learn what the outcome for the main character and his family was, but to look at the broader implications for the rural society in which we all live here in Littleport and the fens.
Lyn (Gibb-de Swarte)
I just wanted to let you know that we were really pleased that we attended the performance on Saturday.
I’m not sure quite how to explain how I felt when we left...I really enjoyed your performance but ‘enjoy’ seems the wrong word after witnessing the trauma that you had been through......I was captivated certainly...desperately sad that you had been through so much...shocked by how merciless people can be...angry as this could happen to anyone who has a loved one in the same situation... annoyed that you didn’t get more support ....and definitely grateful that you were prepared to share your experience with us.
After performing a show that is so personal you must be completely drained, and I admire you greatly for telling your story in such a creative way, and delivering such an important message with some humour, and light hearted moments along the way.....thank you.
Cllr Jo Webber
The Field Theatre Group
Flying the flag for local theatre!